Saturday, July 18, 2009
BECAYE AW - Sibi (Etnisk Musikklub)
Becaye Aw is another musician from the school of less-is-more. He’s a Mauritanian who grew up in Senegal’s capital Dakar, and part of his apprenticeship was spent playing with the likes of Baaba Maal and Ali Farka Touré. It’s no surprise then to find that his debut release is a confidently delivered acoustic album with strong melodies and a sharp blues tinge. Vocally, Becaye lacks the clarity of Baaba, or the sweetness of compatriot Daby Touré. But his uniform, gritty voice has some depth, albeit almost seeming to work against the melodies rather than riding them. It’s his guitar work that really stands out, though; light, intricate, full of shifts in melody and phrasing, a stunning imitation of the kora in places, and always economical in its expression. A group of accomplished Norwegian musicians fills out this set of assured, mostly original songs. Olav Torpet is particularly impressive on hoddu (harp-lute), deploying a measured sound that is equal parts dry, scratchy rhythm and sharp, plucked melody. Sukaabe is the standout track, not least because it contains a gorgeous soulful vocal duet with (presumably Becaye’s wife?) Leni Banel Aw – more from her please next time round!